US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on the Lebanese Army to build a unifying and national force that is largely free from the sectarianism that corrodes other Lebanese institutions.
“Now once again, in the wake of great tragedy, the Lebanese Armed Forces will have to demonstrate they serve the state of Lebanon and its people, not a political party or sect,” the Senator said.
He delivered his remarks on the Senate floor regarding Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut.
“Since the end of Syrian occupation, the LAF has demonstrated it can be a unifying and national force, largely free from the sectarianism that corrodes other Lebanese institutions. Now it must do so again,” McConnell said.
He extended the Senate’s condolences to the people of Lebanon, following Tuesday’s horrific explosion at Beirut Port.
McConnell said the Lebanese people have seen more than their share of tragedy: Civil war. Syrian occupation. Terrorism and assassination. Sectarian violence. Economic and political corruption. The burden of caring for more than a million refugees fleeing Syria.
“On these fronts, the Senate -- and the American people -- stand with them in their journey,” he said.
The massive explosion that hit Beirut’s port sent shockwaves across the Lebanese capital and killed dozens of people and wounded thousands.
Meanwhile, US Democrats blocked a legislation that would have halted US funding to the Lebanese military.
Republicans argue that the US aid could be used by Hezbollah to carry out attacks against Israel on Iran’s behalf.
The legislation would have cut millions in funding to the Lebanese army.
Outgoing House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) voted on an amendment that removed linking the legislation to any US aid offered to the Lebanese army.
However, Congressional sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the legislation, in its tough version, might later pass at the Senate because Sen. Ted Cruz insists on pushing this new legislation.